Claim: Original Calvine UFO Photo

Rory

Senior Member.
The photographers were bird spotters

Are you sure? I don't remember reading/hearing that.

Against the bird theory: we're pretty sure there were 6 photos. Chances of a bird looking like the same UFO in all six, while another bird (or two) also looked like a plane?
 

Duke

Active Member
a pyramid bottom strikes me personally as a shitty and unlikely design for several reasons:

a) visibility. stealth / spy planes are designed to almost disappear in the sky. not only for radar but also the human eye. this is the exact opposite design
Stealth and "spy planes" are not synonymous, and historical have been mutually exclusive. To my knowledge there are no stealthy spy planes, too many antennae, electronic emissions, and lens openings to be stealthy.
b) aerodynamics. assuming it has to follow our known physics, this design choice makes zero sense. not being as streamlined as possible, means it has to consume more fuel, consuming more fuel means less range
Possibly, although I don't know what the aerodynamics of such a shape would be. There would have to be wind tunnel tests run to determine that. As for range, with aerial refueling the limiting factor for manned aircraft has been the crew, not the craft or fuel.
c) landing. given a pyramid bottom, means the landing gear must extend and cover a lot of distance, both horizontally and vertically to reach over the pointed middle part. this seams to be a rather fragile and or heavy (to counter it) landing gear construction. this becomes more ridiculous the larger the craft becomes.
You asked how it would land, I gave you two explanations. I assume here you are talking about what I referred to as the tripod landing gear, something akin to the "Jupiter 2" image I included.
Yes, it would be complex, but then so are all retractable landing gears, especially for larger a/c. Lots of moving parts. Keep in mind the weight of conventional landing gear is made up in large part by that of the tires. No tires on this design. If this was a VTOL craft, the gear would take less of a pounding than the dynamic landing loads seen on a conventional a/c.
d) form follows function. what is the function of a pyramid bottom design? so far i can only see negatives. the fact that we dont see this design anywhere else (tech usually has similar existent design as a predecessor) suggests further that it is less likely. even the silly avrocar flying saucer from the 50s had a more reasonable design.

these are my thoughts as a non-aerospace engineer. im an economist, so all i have is somewhat critical thinking and wondering about the "why".
This is likely the best question, and one I have pondered since learning Dr Clarke's source told him the "craft" was a US classified a/c. I don't know the "why," but I do know readily noticable changes in a/c design have come about as a result in advances in technology. Monoplanes, retractable landing gear, enclosed cockpit, propellers (and their removal with the advent of jets), ejection seats, fuselage design (for both supersonic flight and stealthiness), wing thickness and sweep, airborne radar, etc.
Was there a new technology that gave birth to some thing this radical? I don't know.
maybe you as an expert in this field (no sarcasm intended) have come around similar designs in military application. no comic book and movie examples of course and after the invention of the f-117 and B-2.
All I can say here is I have seen some very strange looking aircraft, mostly one-off test and/or proof of concept examples. I know for a fact at least one of them was reported as a UFO. Whether they were as radical in appearance as the Calvine "craft" is in the eye of the beholder. If these a/c are declassified, I'll be happy to discuss what I know.
you said there are some vtol jets that have a landing structure or something like that, could you provide an example?

i mean this shitty design from the 50s had a cart that had to carry it and it was launched vertically. pilots had to land it back on its tail. a pyramid has a pointed base, no matter if you orient it horizontally or vertically (assuming it didnt hover for 10min in a 45 degree position).

maybe you can explain the "why" for such a design choice?
Source: https://youtu.be/-FFGz1lIhwc


This was the Ryan X-13. As I said, it didn't look like the Calvine "craft," but it used the concept of a take-off/landing cradle for a VTOL a/c. For a "craft" like Calvine, a cradle would have to have been horizontal, not vertical. Think something like a nest. If properly designed, it could serve as a trolley and maintenance stand for the aircraft as well, like an aircraft drydock.

I covered the "why" above and admitted it has me stumped, but would think if it exists it's the result of some advance in technology.
maybe its also a boat, like these amphibian cars except it can also fly?
Not sure if this was a serious comment, but you mean like a flying boat, or "hydro aeroplane" as they were initially coined? Such aircraft have existed since shortly after the Wright Brothers first flight, and included jet powered seaplane fighters built by companies like Sanders Roe and Ryan (again). I don't know enough about the engineering of seaplanes/flying boats to speculate, but will point out a flying boat variant of the ubiquitous C-130 Hercules is on the boards currently.
maybe thats how it has to look to create anti gravity fields? (russels tea pot reddit style discussion in this case).
To my knowledge this technology does not exist.
(this shouldnt sound condescending or rhetorical by the way, im a non native english speaker and unfortunately am not as eloquent as i would like to be ;-) )
No offense taken, you made good observations and asked cogent questions.
 
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Duke

Active Member
I am NOT an aerospace engineer, but even to my mind the problem with any of the proposed shapes, such as the diamond or pyramid or whatever it is we're seeing in the photo, is a complete lack of lift, right? There is no wing or surface to use the Bernoulli effect and generate lift. If that's the case, I would think that leaves us with 3 options:

1. Lighter than air. It's a balloon, blimp or other floating craft. They can ascend, but I'm not sure how fast. More importantly, what's the point? Is it a target or radar reflector/test bed. If so, why would it still be classified and unheard of 30 years on.

2. Thrust. It uses jets engines or internal fans or both with enough thrust to vertically lift the craft and hold it in position. Sort of like a Harrier or, I just learned, some F35s.

The F135-PW-600 variant for the F-35B incorporates the Shaft-Driven Lift Fan (SDLF) to allow STOVL operations. Designed by Lockheed Martin and developed by Rolls-Royce, the SDLF, also known as the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, consists of the lift fan, drive shaft, two roll posts, and a "three-bearing swivel module" (3BSM). The thrust vectoring 3BSM nozzle allows the main engine exhaust to be deflected downward at the tail of the aircraft and is moved by a "fueldraulic" actuator that uses pressurized fuel as the working fluid.[191][192][193] Unlike the Harrier's Pegasus engine that entirely uses direct engine thrust for lift, the F-35B's system augments the swivel nozzle's thrust with the lift fan; the fan is powered by the low-pressure turbine through a drive shaft when engaged with a clutch and placed near the front of the aircraft to provide a counterbalancing thrust.[194][195][196] Roll control during slow flight is achieved by diverting unheated engine bypass air through wing-mounted thrust nozzles called roll posts.[197][198]

1668015786031.png
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II

Here is a cool video of an F35 coming into hover. What one will notice, unlike the description of the Calvine craft, is it's far from silent:
Source: https://youtu.be/F8X4J0DCyEc?t=31


There doesn't seem to be any intake/output openings visible on the craft either. So, it's using a silent ductless thrust system for lift?

3. Other. Anything could go here like anti-gravity or any other completely unknown technology for heavier than air flight that has no known antecedents.

Maybe I'm missing something.
I think I covered most of your points in my response to @Domzh, but will point out dealing with a means of propulsion is common for all a/c, not just unique to those that might be diamond shaped. If you are asking what the means of propulsion might be if such a craft exists, I've said from day one I don't know.

I'm very familiar with the JSF/F-35, I was assigned to the JSF Joint Program Office (JPO) for almost five years. The STOVL F-35 is loud, but not as loud as the Harrier according to my USN/USMC/Royal Navy colleagues. Of course we don't know if the witnesses/chefs/poachers/birders were correct about it being silent, just like every other aspect of their story. Any sound it might have made could have been masked by the fast jet(s) in the photo.

As an aside, and to hopefully give some a chuckle, the remote control model aircraft community has given us some unique flying machines that aren't exactly aerodynamic. I've seen a flying lawn mower, ironing board, ball, and (Snoopy's) dog house. Here's a video of that RC model.

Source: https://youtu.be/MTnnXhcmSgY
 
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Duke

Active Member
bird_of_prey_03-1140x558.jpeg
https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/bird-of-prey-boeings-lost-stealth-fighter-once-prowled-over-area-51/

Article

Throughout the 1990s, a team of engineers from McDonnell Douglas’ Phantom Works developed and tested a unique stealth fighter shrowded in the secrecy of Area 51, known to most as the Bird of Prey. Unlike most stealth programs, the Bird of Prey, developed under the alias “YF-118G,” wasn’t aiming for operational service, but elements of the design and production process are still working their way into Uncle Sam’s hangars to this very day.
Content from External Source
https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/bird-of-prey-boeings-lost-stealth-fighter-once-prowled-over-area-51/

Here is the weird looking aircraft I mentioned I know was reported as a UFO, I'd forgotten it was declassified. Particularly when seen from below, it was a head turner.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
As investigators we are trained that most witnesses are honest, but inaccurate. They believe what they think they saw and believe what they report.
Is there a formal training manual or book where there's a line like that. It would make a good quote.
 

Duke

Active Member
Is there a formal training manual or book where there's a line like that. It would make a good quote.
It was a statement from a retired FLETC instructor who lectured our USAF mishap investigator's class on how to interview witnesses.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Here is the weird looking aircraft I mentioned I know was reported as a UFO, I'd forgotten it was declassified. Particularly when seen from below, it was a head turner.

I saw that one while looking for '80s-'90s era stealth aircraft.

Found the General Dynamics/McDonnel Douglass A12 Avenger, that kinda looks like the Calvine craft, at least if it's coming or going. If it were seen head on, it takes on the diamond shape, but the cockpit would be visible. Now if it were flying directly away from the photographer, it would appear to hover for a bit, before banking up and appearing to go vertical.

Here it is head on:

1668046756093.png

Here's the only photo I can find that is from the rear (before the wings were attached):

1668046828612.png

Unfortunately, it appears it never flew:

A government report released in November 1990 documented serious problems with the A-12 development program. In December 1990 Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney told the Navy to justify the program and deliver reasons why it should not be canceled. The response given by the Navy and the contractors failed to persuade the Secretary of Defense, as he canceled the program in the following month, on 7 January 1991, for breach of contract.[3][12]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_A-12_Avenger_II

I can see where people looking at these old prototypes and experimental crafts could see a resemblances in the Calvine photo.
 

Duke

Active Member
I saw that one while looking for '80s-'90s era stealth aircraft.

Found the General Dynamics/McDonnel Douglass A12 Avenger, that kinda looks like the Calvine craft, at least if it's coming or going. If it were seen head on, it takes on the diamond shape, but the cockpit would be visible. Now if it were flying directly away from the photographer, it would appear to hover for a bit, before banking up and appearing to go vertical.

Here it is head on:

1668046756093.png

Here's the only photo I can find that is from the rear (before the wings were attached):

1668046828612.png

Unfortunately, it appears it never flew:

A government report released in November 1990 documented serious problems with the A-12 development program. In December 1990 Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney told the Navy to justify the program and deliver reasons why it should not be canceled. The response given by the Navy and the contractors failed to persuade the Secretary of Defense, as he canceled the program in the following month, on 7 January 1991, for breach of contract.[3][12]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_A-12_Avenger_II

I can see where people looking at these old prototypes and experimental crafts could see a resemblances in the Calvine photo.
We called it "The Flying Dorito."
 

Topbunk 2.0

Member
we're pretty sure there were 6 photos
Is Stu Little's anecdote the only evidence for this? Yes the UAP media article mentions "negatives" plural. But what evidence is there - other than Stu's interview - that they show aircraft? Stu says he's always been "in to UFOs" (#35 [6:00]) and would have been very aware of the fame of the photo, but at over the past 30 years hasn't mentioned that he was privvy to its surrounding frames publicly? Seems odd.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Is Stu Little's anecdote the only evidence for [there being six photos]?

From the MoD's 'Loose Minute' of Sep 14 1990:

Screen Shot 2022-11-10 at 10.09.26.png

Are you sure? I don't remember reading/hearing that.

But clearly I did read it, since I was the one who wrote it down. ;)

Interesting revisiting that part of the conversation: Clarke says "I understand one of them was a keen birdwatcher" - but this also follows right after he was talking about his DI source who is the one who said they were poaching.

I suppose no reason why someone couldn't be a photographer, a chef, a dishwasher, a student, a poacher, a birdwatcher, and a hiker/walker all at the same time. ;)

Another point I must have missed first time around: Clarke says Lindsay told him they were on a youth training scheme. If this was the official YTS then that was a scheme for 16 and 17 year-olds that lasted for up to years.

But again, that's from Lindsay's memory via Clarke; it may not have been the official YTS but was instead used loosely; and knowing the age doesn't help identify what's in the picture any, it's just another little tidbit we've been musing over.
 
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Topbunk 2.0

Member
From the MoD's 'Loose Minute' of Sep 14 1990:
I know, they say "six photographic negatives of an alleged UFO" but are we to understand that the alleged UFO remains stationary across these images? (he says it's not in frame 1, frame 2 is the famous image we have, then it gets muddy as to what exactly is shown in frames 3-6) I'm not aware of any description of their content other than Little's.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
are we to understand that the alleged UFO remains stationary across these images?

I'd imagine so. If the witnesses' story was that it was stationary then I would think that's what the pictures would have shown. Little also says the same thing and it doesn't seem there's any record of it not being stationary.

he says it's not in frame 1,

No, the UFO is in all the frames. Are you confusing it with the airfraft?

it gets muddy as to what exactly is shown in frames 3-6

Little's pretty clear on that but I guess no one really knows. He said:

Frame 1 no aircraft
Frame 2 (the Lindsay photo)
Frame 3 craft a little to the right and the plane over to the left, banking clockwise, and looking to circle back around
Frame 4 with two jets
Frames 5 and 6 no aircraft

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/calvine-disclosure-team-q-a.12584/post-277613
Content from External Source
 

Alexandria Nick

Active Member
Stealth and "spy planes" are not synonymous, and historical have been mutually exclusive. To my knowledge there are no stealthy spy planes, too many antennae, electronic emissions, and lens openings to be stealthy.
Depends if you want to count the RQ-170 and RQ-180.

Or how stealthy the SR-71 was.
 

Duke

Active Member
Depends if you want to count the RQ-170 and RQ-180.

Or how stealthy the SR-71 was.
I know little about unmanned aircraft.

Blackbird relied on speed/altitude for protection, not stealth. It was detected routinely, and numerous nations tried to intercept and/or shoot it down.
 
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